Iron Panthers miss the semifinals by a millimeter at the MadTown Throwdown


Photo courtesy of Iron Panthers

The Iron Panthers competed in the MadTown Throwdown robotics competition in Madera, CA last weekend.

Brinda Iyer, Copy Editor

On Nov. 12 and 13, the Iron Panthers finished in the quarterfinals of this year’s MadTown Throwdown robotics competition, ending the off-season on a high note.

Although the team only won three of 10 matches, they fought valiantly and came close to victory in both of their quarterfinal matches. This was definitely an improvement from CalGames, their last off-season competition, in which they lost by 40 to 50 points because the robot broke and was unable to move.

“Overall, it was a really fun experience,” said senior and co-captain Kristen Tran. “I think we all learned a lot. It was probably the best we’ve ever played with this game.”

In a similar structure to CalGames, the competition resembled a basketball game, with the robots scrambling to shoot as many points as possible. Having the experience from the last competition certainly helped the Panthers out, as they carefully attempted to avoid their previous mistakes.

“I think every competition we’re always improving,” junior Connor Lu said. “Even though at CalGames we technically ranked higher, at this one we still learned a lot and improved our team and our robot.”

The MadTown Throwdown took place in Madera, Fresno. Due to the long commute, the team stayed overnight in a hotel, which allowed younger and older teammates to bond together.

“We’ve seen a lot of younger members grow a lot,” senior and co-captain Taylor Woo said. “There’s so many who have improved so much and really stepped up to get work done. It was very heartwarming.”

While the competition was a valuable experience, the Panthers did not make it as far as they hoped, placing just 27th out of 47 robots in the qualifying stage. The team was plagued by simple errors that could have been noticed had the team double-checked the systems precisely enough.

“I feel like we could be more prepared,” sophomore Charlie Zitnick said. “We did a lot of practice testing, so I feel like that wasn’t really our problem. Creating a more universal robot would definitely help though.”

The team took a day off of practice on Monday to recuperate and recover after a weekend of hard work and perseverance. But the rest will be short: competition season starts in January.

“I think we’re going to build a great robot and have a lot of members who are dedicated and prepared,” Lu said. “We’re going to make a great year for everyone to be satisfied with.”